Gov’t directs nuclear energy education campaign on high school students, teachers

PNRI.DOST.GOV.PH

THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) and Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) have rolled out a series of educational materials on nuclear science and technology to broaden public awareness and improve public perception on the fuel source.

The learning materials, geared towards high school teachers and students, consist of online booklets and videos, and modules for exclusive use in the DOST-Science Education Institute’s Science Explorer Bus.

“I’m optimistic that through the projects… our youth will gain unbiased knowledge that would serve as a strong foundation before they proceed to higher levels of learning,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said in a taped message shown during the launch.

“We decided to develop this project (beginning in) 2019 as part of our efforts to promote nuclear energy awareness and improve public perception on the acceptance of the subject,” he added.

An advocate of integrating nuclear energy in the country’s power mix, Mr. Cusi said the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) has been “unfortunately demonized” into dormancy.

“In my opinion, had we been able to seize the opportunity to operate the BNPP, our present economic landscape would probably resemble those of our more industrialized neighbors like South Korea (and) countries that were able to pursue nuclear power programs despite the socioeconomic challenges of those times,” he said.

Mr. Cusi added that the decision on whether the country will go nuclear will entail a national consensus, including strong acceptance from the public on the fuel source.

He said the most effective way to get broader support is through education.

During the event, PNRI Director Carlo A. Arcilla said educating teachers and students under the K-12 curriculum was crucial in overcoming misunderstandings on nuclear power.

In December last year, the DoE said its nuclear energy program inter-agency committee had submitted its recommendations to President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The group was tasked to conduct a study adopting a national position on a nuclear energy program. — Angelica Y. Yang

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